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Unruly Students, Sent to “The Cage”!

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Via(DallasNews)

Dallas ISD records show school held ‘cage fights

The principal and other staff members at South Oak Cliff High School were supposed to be breaking up fights. Instead, they sent troubled students into a steel utility cage in an athletic locker room to battle it out with bare fists and no head protection, records show.

Documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News say the “cage fights” took place between 2003 and 2005. The records don’t say how many fights may have taken place.

Donald Moten, who was principal at South Oak Cliff High at the time, denied any wrongdoing when contacted Wednesday.

District investigators learned of the fights as part of an investigation into grade-changing for student athletes that ultimately cost the school its 2006 boys state basketball championship.

Internal district reports obtained by The News describe a culture of sanctioned violence in which school employees and even the principal relied on “the cage” to settle disputes and bring unruly students under control.

Moten, along with security monitors and other employees, “knew of the practice, allowed it to go on for a time, and failed to report it,” investigators for the DISD’s Office of Professional Responsibility wrote in a confidential 2008 report.

Despite investigators’ assertions that the staff’s conduct “may constitute a criminal violation,” charges were never filed against Moten or the hall monitors accused of organizing the fights. Many of those employees were still working on campus at the beginning of this school year.

“It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff,” said Frank Hammond, a middle school counselor in Cedar Hill who was fired from South Oak Cliff High School and has filed a whistleblower lawsuit. “They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security.”

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie
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